False Arrests: One reason you should know the law and your rights
Unjustified DUI Arrests
“I told her…‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life. I haven’t had nothing (anything) to drink”, said a suspect arrested by a former Utah State Trooper.
During detention at the County Jail, the suspect, passed a blood test and had no drugs or alcohol in his system. The DUI charges were eventually dismissed. His words were hauntingly true.
The New York Times reported this story last week, where a lawsuit was filed, after a Utah State Trooper was dismissed for misconduct. The officer’s Sergeant reviewed at least 20 files where suspects were arrested; and DUI tests results confirmed, there was no evidence of alcohol, drugs in the driver’s system, or resulting driving impairment. The lawsuit alleged that she “made a career” out of falsifying arrests.
False arrests are not uncommon. Although we would like to think they are rare, we hear many stories of its kind. They can happen in Arizona, and any other state, in any jurisdiction to anyone. They may occur for a multitude of reasons. False arrests may be the result of a genuine error or mistake on the part of the police. However, that does not mean, they can’t result from overzealous occupational motivation; or financial incentives in the way of fines by budget torn cities or jurisdictions.
The fact that they exist at all, should make motorists leery of settling with a conviction, without consulting a DUI Attorney for defense of their impaired driving charges, especially if they do not feel they were driving impaired.
DUI Arrests Requirement
In Arizona In order to make an arrest a police officer must have “probable cause”. This standard is higher than “reasonable suspicion” to make the stop initially. An arrest is unlawful without material evidence which warrants “probable cause”. Examples of this would include positive official breath test findings; chemical test results such urine or blood screening; an admittance of drunk driving by a suspect; and a host of other signals. Put simply, it is unlawful for an officer to make an arrest based on a hunch, or because they think a person was driving impaired due to alcohol or drugs. It’s a decision that must be based on a cumulative evidence that leads to “probable cause” that a person was drunk driving or impaired due to drugs or alcohol.
Arizona DUI Laws
Under A.R.S. 28-1381 a person may be found guilty of DUI if they are found to be driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle; and
- They are impaired to the slightest degree due to alcohol or drugs; and/or
- They have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher.
In other words, a person does not have to be drunk, or have a BAC of 0.08% to be arrested for DUI. If they are found by the police officer to be impaired to the slightest degree, even if it is below 0.08 percent; or they have drugs in the system but not alcohol, they may be arrested.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is with the State and Prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was driving impaired or over the legal limit due to alcohol or drugs. The defendant is presumed by law, to be innocent until proven guilty.
An arrest does not mean you are guilty; it means you need to defend your charges.
Criminal Defense Attorney Mesa, AZ
Often people are made to feel that because they have been arrested, they are guilty. But that’s not always the case. In any event, an arrest is simply the beginning of due process. It means you will need to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney to defend your charges and protect your rights.
Being arrested is only the beginning of the criminal justice process. By law you have the right to a defense. In order to invoke that right, a person must plead not guilty” and retain a criminal defense attorney to be your legal advocate, challenge the charges, defend you. Even if you were not drinking or under the influence of drugs, your case will most effectively be challenged by an experienced criminal defense attorney. If you were, there may still be defenses you are still entitled to defend your charges. There may be defenses you are not aware of, that may enable you to obtain a favorable outcome in your case charges, particularly if your rights were violated, or the evidence to be used against you is weak.